May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

2014 Excellence in Environmental Education Awards Presented to Non-Formal Science Educators and Science Fair Students

Posted: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

by Ray Ng

The California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF) presented the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Education awards to two non-formal science educators at the California STEM Symposium on September 22 in San Diego.

CEEF Board member Rita Bell (director of Education Programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) is shown with Brian Brown (State Coordinator of the California Project WET program at the Water Education Foundation), recipients of a CEEF 2014 Excellence in Non-Formal Environmental Education award of a plaque (shown in insert) and $400.

CEEF Board member Rita Bell (director of Education Programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) is shown with Brian Brown (State Coordinator of the California Project WET program at the Water Education Foundation), recipients of a CEEF 2014 Excellence in Non-Formal Environmental Education award of a plaque (shown in insert) and $400.

CEEF Board Members Rita Bell, the director of Education Programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Dave Massey, Program Director of Exploring STEM Careers Initiative, presented the 2014 awards to Brian Brown, State Coordinator of the California Project WET program at the Water Education Foundation, and Biret Adden, Environmental Education Manager for the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and Director of the BioSITE Program.

Brian and Biret were recognized as two non-formal science educators who have demonstrated excellence in environmental education. Each recipient received a $400 check and a plaque recognizing their accomplishments from CEEF.

Among other achievements, Brian has conducted 127 full Project WET workshops and an additional 50 workshops at the Forestry Institute for Teachers, which has resulted in professional development for 2,268 educators. Biret, as the Director of the BioSITE Program, manages curriculum development and training of high school students in field study and Environmental Education content so they can facilitate weekly field explorations with small teams of 4th-5th graders in watershed study sites.  This program reaches more than 1,000 students per year.

CEEF Board members Darryl Ramos-Young (left) and Ray Ng (right) present the CEEF Excellence in Environmental Education junior division award to Ananya Kathhik at the 2014 California State Science Fair.  Photo courtesy of the California State Science Fair.

CEEF Board members Darryl Ramos-Young (left) and Ray Ng (right) present the CEEF Excellence in Environmental Education junior division award to Ananya Kathhik at the 2014 California State Science Fair. Photo courtesy of the California State Science Fair.

Earlier this year, CEEF had also presented two Excellence in Environmental Education awards at the California State Science Fair on April 29 in Los Angeles.

CEEF Board Members Ray Ng and Darryl Ramos-Young presented the Junior Division Award to Ananya Kathhik, a seventh grade student at Challenger School in Sunnyvale for her project, “A Greener Cleaner: Investigating a Potential Biosorbent for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aqueous Solutions.”

Stacey S. Sojiri and Kelly Y.Woo, 12th grade students at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, received the Senior Division Award for their project, “The Potential Impact of Hyperion Treatment Plant’s Effluent on the Coastal Environment: Science Influencing Management.” The judges were impressed by the sophisticated environmental applications of complex scientific content, study, research and findings for both winning projects.

CEEF Board members Darryl Ramos-Young (far left) and Ray Ng (far right) present the CEEF Excellence in Environmental Education senior division award to Stacey S. Dojiri and Kelly Y. Woo at the 2014 California State Science Fair.  Photos courtesy of the California State Science Fair.

CEEF Board members Darryl Ramos-Young (far left) and Ray Ng (far right) present the CEEF Excellence in Environmental Education senior division award to Stacey S. Dojiri and Kelly Y. Woo at the 2014 California State Science Fair. Photos courtesy of the California State Science Fair.

One student each in the Junior Division and Senior Division were honored for science projects judged to be the best entries that exemplified the integration of environmental education with California science content. The winning students received a $500 check and certificate of excellence from CEEF.

The California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF) is a statewide non-profit foundation established at the recommendation of the State Superintendent’s Environmental Education Task Force Steering Committee in 2003. It is a successor organization to the California Energy Education Forum. CEEF envisions the day when high caliber environmental education is fully integrated into the daily experience of all California students. CEEF’s mission is to promote environmental literacy and stewardship by identifying and coordinating efforts that support the highest standards of practice and increasing the flow of focused resources to those efforts.

Ray Ng is a Board Member for the California Environmental Education Foundation and was invited to submit to CCS by CSTA member Valerie Joyner

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.